California’s Amador County Supervisors on Tuesday (May 9) voted 4-0 to direct staff to work on ballot measure language for a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) increase on hotel and motel stays, and established an ad hoc committee to hold a public workshop with local stakeholders.

Supervisor Vice Chairman, presiding while Chair Louis Boitano is on medical leave, appointed Supervisors Ted Novelli and John Plasse to an ad hoc committee that will hold a public workshop. County Administrative Officer Chuck Iley said he received a measure used by Jim Conklin in Tuolumne County so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but he noted that it includes closing loopholes for camping and RVs to also charge taxes on those.

Plasse asked about exemptions for locals who may spend the season at resorts. Supervisor Vice Chair Richard Forster said locals stay the summer at resorts. County Tax Collector Mike Ryan said to collect the TOT tax, the hotel stay has to be 30 days or less. He noted that the county does not collect TOT on RVs or campgrounds and if you want to tax campgrounds you would have to amend the ordinance.

Plasse said he would like to create equity between the cities and the county, for different TOT taxes paid. Conklin said in recommending the increase, it was Amador County Business Council’s intent that all businesses that are eligible to pay should be paying. He said he has also had conversations with the Jackson Rancheria Casino about voluntary payment.

Leroy Carlin said the TOT tax increase would be used to promote more tourism but who pays for the traffic? He said when he builds a house, he pays a traffic impact fee, but “who pays for the impact of tourism?” He said they are not putting the fees he pays into promoting his business.

Amador Chamber of Commerce President Mark Borchin said it’s our money, our customers and our business associates and when people come and like it here, some eventually buy houses and move here.

Plasse said he knows the county TOT is below the state average, but he can’t argue with Carlin’s points. Plasse thought they might want to dedicate the money to economic development as a whole. He said if it turns toward tourism, they can’t ignore some of the more core industries of Amador County, such as natural and manufacturing resources.